Wife, daughter and I stumbled on this site while heading south on 1. They had plenty of open sites and allowed dogs. For $20, can’t beat it.
Open space with few tree. I assume it get hot in summer.
My wife say five stars, but I will rate it a 4 in case someone comes for summer.
Nice sites with tables and fire pits. We were able to get a spot same day so some parts of the year it’s pretty mellow out there next time would go with the primitive sites. Close walk to beach and short drove to elephant seals. Right next to Hearst castle if visiting
Have stayed here a couple of times in the primitive sites. They usually book up quite a bit in advance as a short walk provides beach access. Very easy access to Hwy 1 if you like to bike as well. Sites are a bit close together and one night I stayed there was a group that was pretty loud past quiet time. Havent stayed at the sites with hookups closer to the beach. Restrooms are VERY clean and well stocked for a CA state campground.
The Washburn Campground at San Simeon State Park is our go-to campground for quick and easy camping in Central California. My boyfriend and I met at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and love visiting SLO and the surrounding areas. If we don’t want to pay to stay at a hotel and can’t crash with some friends, we like to set up our base-camp at Washburn, the primitive campground within San Simeon State Park. SSSP does have full campsites with hookups on its Creek Campground, but we prefer the views and the star gazing at the primitive Washburn sites - Washburn is on the top of a hill, with beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding hillsides and mountains. The fees for the primitive Washburn sites are $18 per night, versus $35 per night for the full campsites in the Creek Campground.
San Simeon State Park is easy to get to, as its right off Highway 1. You can make a reservation ahead of time, but you cannot select a specific site until you arrive. The ranger will ask you to go check out the campgrounds, and compile a list of site numbers that you are interested in. Once you return, they will go over the list with you and if one that you like is available, that site is yours.
Each primitive campsite has a fire ring and a bench, and there are pit toilets available. These are the nicest pit toilets I have seen anywhere. There are water spigots in Washburn, which have had running water for the last year or so; the water had previously been shut off due to the drastic drought. I believe there are plumbed toilets in the lower Creek Campgrounds, but we have yet to go down and confirm that.
Some sites are on the perimeter of the Washburn are more barren, but most sites have trees for some shade. Because you are right by the ocean, it can get pretty cold at night. Each site has a picnic bench and a fire pit - I can’t recall if the fire pits have grates. We generally do not cook while we camp at Washburn, as we usually pick something up in the nearby cities. Sebastian’s Store in San Simeon has GREAT burgers and various barbecue sandwiches. There is also a Hearst Ranch wine tasting room in the same shared building that sells frozen steaks from Hearst Ranch - great quality steaks, if you will be camping for a couple nights I suggest getting some Hearst steaks to cook while you are there.
There is a great new-ish restaurant and bar called Centrally Grown just down the road on Highway 1. This place has great, locally sourced food, and a good bar. We have been there for dinner, breakfast, and just for drinks, and have always had a great experience - the view from the upstairs restaurant is GORGEOUS. Centrally Grown is part of what looks like a compound called Off The Grid - it has a Bed and Breakfast, some goats and chickens, an event space for bands, and a very very interesting garden. Even if you want to just stop in for a coffee or pastry, I think Off The Grid is worth seeing - we like sitting in the garden with coffee.
I am a rock hound and Central California beaches have some reach rocks! To the North is Big Sur, so small jade can be found. There are moonstones from Cambria, and lots of agate and quartz.
The small town of Harmony (literally - it has a population of 18) is worth the visit - there is a lot of local art to be seen and purchased there at the hand blown glass shop and the pottery shop. There is also a winery and ice cream.
The elephant seals are always fun to go watch, and individuals can sometimes be seen on San Simeon beach. This beach is open to the public, and the seals are not behind any barriers as they are at the rookery. If you see a seal on the beach, give him lots of space and don’t harass him - elephant seals are huge animals, and are quicker than you’d think.
The Firestone Walker Brewery is in nearby Paso Robles - if you like beer, the tour is super interesting, and they have a tap room and store. The tap room restaurant is very good.
Fees: $20/night (primitive site fee)
Plumbed Toilets: No - pit
Drinking Water: Yes
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grate: Yes
Cell Service: Limited
Animal Bins/Food lockers: No
No hook ups. Bathrooms ok. No cell or WiFi unless you go park by Park Entrance Ranger office and you get a weak signal. Easy Access to beach. San Simeon town just 5 min away.
Grass all dead. Many ground squirrels who come right up to you and beg for treats. Some noise from highway. Country is beautiful
The drive along the coast to the campground takes you through beautiful countryside. The hike and bike area is set away from the RV areas and near the highway. Still, at night the highway noise is not noticeable. Be sure to keep you food and small items secure and out of reach of the local racoons.
It's a small campsite for the same price as others, but a good location while traveling down Pacific Coast Highway. I've always wanted to camp there, but was a bit disappointed in the actual site that we got. It barely fits two cars and barely enough room for one maybe two tents. They are all close to each other, which is not very comfortable , but there are trees/bushes for shade some and privacy. It is really close to Hearst Castle, elephant seals and a great beach for the kids to play in all day. I would stay there again if I was traveling down PCH, but wouldn't go out of my way to stay there just to go camping.
This is a quaint campsite along California’s Central Coast. Not a lot at the site but in great proximity to Hearst Castle, elephant seals, zebras (no joke) and cute towns.
this was my first time camping in this area. I made a reservation as it was late June. camped in lower campground. no hookups here but was able to walk out to beach from our site. lots of trees in the sites and bathrooms clean
The rangers were very friendly. The tent spaces are pretty close together. Finding a shower in the morning is nearly impossible. The bathrooms are not clean and there is no light. It does have beach access and lots of trees. There are also ground squirrels that will be up rustling around all night. They are pretty cute during the day though. Not a bad campground for the price.